Purdue University Developing Roadway That Charges Electric Vehicles

This new tech could change roads and increase electric vehicle viability in the United States.

Purdue University and the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) recently announced they are teaming to test new technology that wirelessly charges electric vehicles as they drive on certain roadways. The project will employ a groundbreaking magnetizable concrete developed by a German startup that could greatly increase the viability of electric vehicles in the U.S.

“Indiana is known as the Crossroads of America and we’re committed to fortifying our position as a transportation leader by innovating to support the emerging vehicle technology,” said Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb. “This partnership to develop wireless charging technology for highways sends a strong signal that Indiana is on the leading edge of delivering the infrastructure needed to support the adoption of electric vehicles.”

While the total of electric vehicles in the U.S. has increased exponentially in the last half-decade, overall adoption remains low, with just seven percent of Americans reporting they owned an electric vehicle in 2021.

The scarcity of places to charge those vehicles remains the big problem. While there are gas stations on seemingly every other block in the U.S., charging stations for electric vehicles are much rarer. That makes electric vehicles less desirable on long trips, especially in rural areas.

“As electric vehicles become more widely used, demand for reliable, convenient charging infrastructure continues to grow, and the need to innovate is clear,” INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness said.

This project will kick off with testing, research and analysis of the new concrete technology at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. INDOT plans to build a quarter-mile-long stretch of road to try it out. If all tests are successful, the technology will be implemented on a yet-to-be-determined Indiana interstate highway.

“The field of transportation is in the midst of a transformation not experienced since the invention of the automobile,” said Nadia Gkritza, professor of civil engineering and agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University.

“Through this research, we envision opportunities to reduce emissions and near-road exposures to pollutants, coupled with other transportation innovations in shared mobility and automation that will shape data-driven policies encouraging advances.”

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